Book Review: Terawatt

April 30, 2012

Book Reviews, EMP

A solar EMP brings on TEOTWAWKI

I’ve noticed an increase in EMP/solar flare stories lately.  It’s a great event for a novel since the circumstances become dire so quickly and you can jump right into the action of survival.  I read another one recently that I thought you may enjoy:  Terawatt.

This story is set in the summer in Texas at the beginning.  The main character, Marc, is an out-of-work teacher at home trying to sell the family house.  His son and wife are visiting her parents in east Tennessee.  As he is mowing his grass in advance of a realtor showing, suddenly his cell phone quits and planes begin to fall out of the sky and crash.  With no mass communication, people are clueless as to what has happened, though interestingly, it isn’t long before grocery stores are descended upon and fights break out.  Desperation sets in quickly.

Marc tries to be a good guy in dealing with people and looks out especially for his elderly neighbor.  Eventually, as the situation deteriorates and there is no end in sight, he decides he must make the trek to east Tennessee to his wife and son.  He carefully plans what he should take with him and how to pack it.  It dawns on him that his wife may not forgive him if he leaves her cat behind, which he hates, so he has that additional dilemma to consider.

As he travels, he is confronted with problems of when it would be safest to be on the road, which routes to take, and making split-second decisions about the intentions and motives of others.  He later doubts himself and regrets the consequences.

Along the way, he becomes sick and one of the most interesting parts of the story (to me) is time he spends with the woman who nurses him back to health.  Her husband had foreseen the likelihood of this solar event and they had taken very interesting precautions to prepare.

Terrawatt by Des MichaelsAll along his journey, he reassured himself that his father-in-law, who was ex-military and a hobby farmer, would have been ready for anything and well-supplied to take care of his family in Marc’s absence.  Everything is not as he had hoped by the time he finally arrives.   In the new world that evolves, you have to choose your allegiances carefully.

This book is a little different than some I’ve read.  The author writes in first person so you “hear” just about everything Marc thinks.  That gives some interesting perspective and makes Marc a pretty well-fleshed main character.  On the down side, that can provide “too much information.”  You really see Marc with all his warts- lustful thoughts, etc. that we usually don’t like to think about.  The author did a good job in making him very human and real.

Overall, I think most people who enjoy this genre will also like this book.  I’d be curious to hear other people’s opinions.

Have you read this one?  What did you think?  Please comment.

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